"I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money,” Nigella told the magazine My Weekly. By disinheriting her kids, Nigella explained that she hoped to teach her children 13-year-old daughter Cosima and 11-year-old son Bruno that “you have to work in order to earn money.” It is a lesson that she cannot be accused of preaching but not practicing. As the daughter of Nigel Lawson, a former Conservative chancellor and Vanessa Salmon, an heiress to the Lyons Corner House empire, she was, as some might say, “born with a silver spoon in her mouth”. But rather than sitting on her derriere, Nigella has become a self-styled entrepreneur after carving out a name for herself in the upmarket culinary world. In addition to a series of highly successful tv cookery shows (her latest show, Nigella Express, saw up to 3.2 million tuning in per episode), she has also written three best-selling books which have sold nearly three million copies worldwide. With her cookware range reportedly being worth £7m a year, Nigella is now thought to be worth about £15m. If she is true to her word, then Nigella will become the latest to follow in a line of successful entrepreneurs who believe they are doing their children a favour by disinheriting them. When asked in an interview in 2005 what motivated his decision to invest his life’s fortunes in setting up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to fight global diseases, Bill Gates replied: “Well, the first thing was the decision that it probably wouldn’t be good for my kids if it went to them. They’ll get something, but not a substantial percentage.” With a personal fortune larger than the gross national product of some countries, it’s not hard to understand the Microsoft founder’s decision. Today, the B&MGF is the largest transparently operated charitable foundation in the world with an endowment of US$37.6bn as of July 2007. Similarly, as the second-richest person in the world behind Bill Gates, in 2006, Warren Buffet announced he was donating 85 per cent of his $44bn personal fortune to charity. "I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing," Buffet explained at the time. Nigella has not yet said what she intends to do with her shared £110m fortune – although it has been widely speculated that she will pledge some of it to cancer charities after losing her mother, sister and first husband to the disease. What is interesting though is the criticism she has already come under with a large section of the general public claiming that she has “forgotten her roots” and that she doesn’t need to cut her kids out of her will to teach them respect for money. What are your opinions on the transfer of great fortunes from one generation to the next? Are you opposed to them or do you think that Nigella’s decision is commendable? Let’s hear your views…
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